A Guide to Drum Bearing Edges

edge and rim of drum

One crucial element in shaping a drums tone and often overlooked by drummers is the bearing edge of a drum. Of course the shell’s wood type, ply count and dimensions are also important factors to consider, but understanding bearing edges is great knowledge to have for any drummer. Next time you tune a drum or shop for a new kit be sure to keep the bearing edges in mind!

In this post, we’ll delve into the world of drum bearing edges, exploring what they are, the various types, and how different edges can affect your drum tone.

What Are Drum Bearing Edges?

The bearing edge is the point where the drum shell comes into contact with the drumhead. In other words, think of it as the rim of a drum shell. It plays a crucial role in shaping the way a drum sounds and responds to different playing styles. Over the years, drum builders have experimented with different edges by changing their slope and shape profile.  There are several types of bearing edges, each with its own unique characteristics.

Types of Drum Bearing Edges

45 Degree Edge

45 degree drum bearing edge

A common choice for many drum manufacturers, the 45-degree edge provides a balanced mix of attack, sustain, and sensitivity. Newer kits are generally built using a 45 degree edge. The edge is positioned on the outside of the shell.

Double 45 Degree Edge

Another popular variation of the 45-degree edge, this design involves a second slope, adding more focus and precision to the drum’s tone. Double 45s are often easiest to tune as the edge is located near the middle of the shell, providing a balanced area for the drum head to rest.

Roundover Edge

Features a rounded profile, providing a warmer and mellower sound with less attack. As you can imagine, the more surface area for a drum head to rest on such as with a rounded edge, the more muted the overall tone will be. Roundovers are commonly found on vintage kits as these were popular during the early days of drum building. When comparing a roundover edge to a 45, there is a noticeable difference in the timbre of the drums.

Resources for Learning more about Drum Bearing Edges:

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